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Robin Aug 25th, 2000 12:37 PM

When Did You Know That You Were Hooked?
Luigi's post regarding planning, touring and remembering sent me on another tangent: When did I first know that I was a travel junkie? My first overseas experience was a two-month European backpacking trip in college, and it was fabulous and eye-opening, but I really think that my obsession began in high school, when my parents took me on an East Coast historic tour (Williamsburg, DC, New York, etc.) I'm a little hazy on my age, but it was about 15, and I had never gone anywhere that didn't look just like home. I vividly remember what it felt like to see St. Patrick's Cathedral, the Air & Space Museum, the National Gallery of Art, Gettysburg, etc., places and things I had heard about but had no concept of. The thrill of experiencing something totally new is still with me, and I think with every trip I'm looking to ignite it again. Now the mere mention of a region or a town is enough to get the juices going-- What's there? When should I go? What else is it near? <BR> <BR>So, what about you? I'm not necessarily asking about the first trip, or the best, but the one when you knew you would be back for more.

love2trvl Aug 25th, 2000 12:43 PM

Hi Robin: <BR>Oh my! what a great question! As you can see by my "name" I am definitely hooked. I did not start traveling until my 42nd birthday (not too long ago) After my first trip to Paris when I was so inexperienced I cried because I got lost, I knew it had to get better. And it has I knew I wanted to come back to Europe again and and again. Knowing that when I retire I will really have the time to spend and travel at leisure makes me realize I am happily addicted!

Heather Aug 25th, 2000 01:00 PM

The second I stepped off of the plane in Milan for my first trip to Europe. I was by myself and was convinced that even the air smelled old and exotic. (Of course, that could've been the airplane fuel fumes.) I've always been completely open to different cultures & craved diversity, but I think I've developed a bit of a problem ... in less than four years of travelling to Europe, I'm going on my 6th trip overseas & already planned the 7th for next year. Is there a 12-step program for this problem? And, I absolutely love reading the postings of all of your experiences & suggestions ... they're so fascinating and thoughtful.

kavey Aug 25th, 2000 01:07 PM

I can still remember eating paella in majorca when i was about 4 and the feeling of happiness wandering through the white washed apartments... <BR> <BR>In fact before that i have a fragment of memory which I believe is the liberty bell.. that was when I was about 2... <BR> <BR>My parents, my pops in particular, love to travel. We have always travelled. As soon as me and my little sis were both out of nappies, and they could afford more than packages to the beaches of europe we have explored... <BR> <BR>I have strong memories of childhood trips to alaska, peru, tanzania, and several trips to India where my parents are from... <BR> <BR>As soon as I was allowed I participated in the exchange trips arranged by school, to germany and france... <BR> <BR>So I guess... I have always been addicted and it must be in my genes... <BR> <BR>Thanks to my ma and pops... <BR> <BR>

elvira Aug 25th, 2000 01:44 PM

When I stopped buying Vogue and bought Conde Nast Traveler instead.

Robin Aug 25th, 2000 01:46 PM


Thyra Aug 25th, 2000 01:57 PM

When I was 7 my parents (New England transplants) took us on a family trip to the East Coast and we visited Plymouth Plantation.. I remember being in awe, thinking "wow, pilgrims actually walked on these same stones". I guess I really fixated on that...and I still get the same feeling whenever I visit a historical place.

Judy Aug 25th, 2000 02:09 PM

Hi all: Elvira always nail it!

lola Aug 25th, 2000 02:23 PM

...when I lived in London in the 1970s and realized I could actually make a living writing about traveling.

John Aug 25th, 2000 02:39 PM

I'd been on family vacations, but usually to visit relatives who smelled funny, and usually in the back of a car, where we played a game spotting out-of-state license plates. The game became more difficult when we were in another state. <BR> <BR>My first introductions to independent travel were in high school, again in cars, but this time with buddies, off to places like Death Valley or Yellowstone - gas was 29c a gallon, campgrounds were a buck a night, and places like Barstow or Ogden seemed tres exotique, doncha know? <BR> <BR>But I was hooked on overseas travel by a couple of movies, Charade, the Great Escape, and the Sound of Music. Oh, and Topkapi, which had me dying to move to Istanbul and be chic and dangerous. Schmaltz, you bet, but it did the trick. I knew there was a weekend stamp market in Paris before I could say bon jour, and still imagine escaping the Gestapo through the mountains into Spain, helped out by a guy in a beret. "Spine?" as Charles Coburn asked in his fake Aussie accent. "Espaņa," the reply. <BR>

carol Aug 25th, 2000 02:46 PM

When my AF husband got orders to some remote place in Spain called Paracuellos Air Station and we learned it was right by Barajas Airport in Madrid and we moved there. I was 20 at the time and we fell in love with Spain and every place else we traveled in Europe then and later on. We were fortunate to have 5 years in Germany also and did extensive traveling then. Now that we are no longer in the AF and the kids are grown and gone, I'm going back every year and loving it.

luigi Aug 25th, 2000 04:00 PM

Good question Robin! My parents also (due to my Mother's strong travel lust) took us on family vacations during the summer. I remember them taking turns driving all night and stopping in strange towns for milk and cereal at grocery stores in the morning. We didn't do anything too extravagant, but it got us thinking about seeing places other than home. <BR> <BR>When my brother and I were 8 & 11, they took us to Europe for the first time. France, Italy, Spain, England and Portugal. I loved it and to this day, as Heather mentioned, the smell of diesel fuel takes me right back. <BR> <BR>When I dropped out of college and bought a one-way ticket to Amsterdam on a student charter flight at 17, I had the thought standing on the jetway that I may be seeing my parents for the last time. Of course I came home eventually, but I have been addicted to seeing new places, new sunsets, waking up in new cities, etc, for as long as I have any recollections of those early trips with my parents. <BR> <BR>I have planted the seed (for good or bad) in my daughter. Took her to Italy when she was 12 and since then she has been to Australia and this summer did a six week road trip around the Western states with her boyfriend. Another generation of travelaholics is born! <BR> <BR>Thank God there are places like fodors or we would need the 12 step program that Heather asked about! <BR>ciao, <BR>luigi

Maira Aug 25th, 2000 04:09 PM

At five years old. My parents gave me this children's book about a family that travels all over the world and the different things they discover about each country (wonderful book). I was so enthralled by this book, I remember reading it again, and again. <BR> <BR>While getting thru the physics, calculus, and thermodinamics courses on my engineering curriculum, I used to placed a picture of the Sagrada Familia cathedral in Barcelona, of the Roman Colosseum, etc. in my textbooks to keep me motivated. Some dreams do come true...

Me Aug 25th, 2000 05:05 PM

We always traveled when I was little - not to Europe, but we were in So. California, so Mexico was easy, and there were lots of trips to relatives in other areas. Later on there were trips to Hawaii and the Caribbean. I always enjoyed my trips and always looked forward to the next one, but couldn't say I was addicted. <BR> <BR>Then came Paris. The first time was in Sept. 97. Our 11th trip to Europe is coming up up soon and the 12th is planned for November. WAY addicted! <BR> <BR>The day we arrived in Paris the first time, I was tired, and a little intimidated about finding a place for lunch, as I was very worried about the language barrier. We finally got up our courage, managed to get ourselves seated on the terrace, ordered lunch with no problem and it hit me - I feel completely at home; I love it here; I'm having lunch and wine in Paris; I'm coming back soon and often! <BR> <BR>People tease us now about going so often and everytime we come back they ask us if the bubble has burst yet. It never will! I want MORE, MORE, MORE! <BR> <BR>

Maira Aug 25th, 2000 05:27 PM

...oops! that's 'thermodynamics' for those who keep score of these things....(that'll give you an idea of the grade I got!)

MaureenGP Aug 25th, 2000 08:07 PM

I was one of five children and my parents couldn't afford to take vacations every year. But, when I was seven, we drove all the way from Pennsylvania to California. It was strictly an economy trip--we made our own breakfasts (lots of cocoa) every morning and skimped in many ways. And it wasn't real easy--no air-conditioning in the car back then; my grandmother came with us and she and my mother bickered, civilly, all the way west and back east, and for some reason I have long forgotten, we took along a bird in a cage that kept falling off the back window ledge spreading seed all over us kids. BUT, I saw the Pacific Ocean for the first time, and the Grand Canyon, and cactus and tumbleweeds, and Disneyland and Knotts Berry Farm. I was in heaven. <BR>It was a long time before I traveled outside Pennsylvania again--my aunt took me to Mississippi and New Orleans when I was a teenager--and this time I loved the magnolias and crabs and pralines and those beignets at the Cafe du Monde. <BR>When I was married, we honeymooned in Puerto Rico, and I saw Old San Juan, a rainforest, incredible beaches, and ate tropical fruits and all kinds of seafood. <BR>I fell in love with Europe at least 10 years before I ever got there--reading every book and guide and seeing every movie I could. I've only been privileged to travel there three times, twice to Spain and once to Italy, and I loved every single moment of those trips. But I still keep reading the books and guides and seeing the movies and hoping that I will be able to visit all the places I have dreamed of all my life. Next on my list is Paris, and then, hopefully, the British Isles, Germany and Austria, Greece and the Greek Islands, and a return to Italy. <BR>In between, I've seen a lot of the U.S., including Hawaii, and also Canada and Mexico and the Caribbean. And I can honestly say that I have loved every place I've ever been---even Acapulco when I got as sick as I've ever been! I think that makes me a real travel junkie--when I can find something interesting and special and worthwhile no matter where I go. I think we travel junkies know how to adjust our attitude in order to find the best in each new experience--unlike some of the fellow tourists I've met who find fault with everything because it isn't just like home.

tina Aug 26th, 2000 10:04 PM

About a month ago, first trip to Europe. I loved the feeling of not knowing anyone and no one knowing me, the freedom...the linking of reality n stuff learned in school (eg. 'OMG! I saw a video about that column [Trajan's] last term!!')... the music of half-understood languages around me... <BR> <BR>

Robin Aug 27th, 2000 10:16 AM

Your stories are giving me chills and smiles... keep 'em coming!

dk Aug 27th, 2000 10:16 AM

Maureen, I laughed out loud on the part about the birdcage! <BR> <BR>Like other posters, my parents always took us on vacations (U.S. only) that allowed us to get out of our small PA town. I still appreciate this and marvel how they did it on little $$. <BR> <BR>But, I think I was first addicted by the feeling of independence travel brings. At 13, a lady I babysat for took me on a trip to DC to watch her 9 mo. old while she attend a conference for a week. For some strange reason, she was completely comfortable with my schlepping the kid all over that city via metro!! (Don't think my mom realized that this would be part of the deal!) I felt such tremendous freedom and accomplishment at figuring out how to get to the Smithsonian, Zoo, etc. <BR> <BR>Now, I have been fortunate enough to get a job that has allowed me to travel internationally for the past few yrs and I'm hooked on the thrill of speaking another language, seeing new sites, forming friendships. (Although travel for pleasure still far outweighs business - no matter what little fun you can sneak in.) <BR> <BR>I've now got my husband hooked - introducing him to international travel as well on vacations we've taken. I know we'll gladly pass this addiction on to any kids we have - truly an education.

carolyn Aug 28th, 2000 01:33 PM

I was 18 and a new bride. My husband was sent to Korea and then transferred to Schofield on Oahu. I flew for 24 hours, pre-jet, to meet him, and we lived there for a year. Hawaii was quite an introduction to travel for a girl who grew up on a small farm in rural Kentucky, and I have never recovered from it.

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